“Plans are nothing; planning is everything.” —Dwight D. Eisenhower
Even the best laid plans go sideways once in a while. In fact, you can almost always count on something not going according to plan. This is why Dwight D. Eisenhower’s above quote is so meaningful; you can’t count on the plan, but planning is everything. Here’s why:
Planning allows you to be prepared. If you know where you are, and you know where you want to end up, then you can start looking at the options for getting there. There is almost always more than one way to achieve a goal. The thought and research that goes into planning helps you to understand the multiple options available to you.
Flexibility is the key to responding instead of reacting when things don’t go according to plan. If you become dead-set on following your plan; step by step; from beginning to end, you will lack the flexibility necessary to adapt the plan to new or unforeseen circumstances. It is this flexibility that allows you to continue moving forward toward your goal even when your plan falls short.
Planning gives you the opportunity to assess the strength of each of your team members. Knowing their strengths in advance gives you an advantage when things start going sideways. Who will be your best pinch-hitter in different situations when things don’t go according to plan? Don’t leave yourself scrambling at the last minute trying to figure out what to do; know who to turn to when the going gets tough.
Roll with the Punches
The key is to plan, but also plan for your plan to break-down along the way. Be prepared, build flexibility into your plan, and know your team member’s strengths. When things don’t go as planned, fall back on your planning and roll with the punches.